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So, What Do You Want?

Nobody likes to feel stressed, stuck, or bored at work. We say, “I want a job I love,” but we trip over our tongues when trying to articulate what that perfect job would look like.Maybe you are looking for different responsibilities? Fewer interruptions? More regular hours? A more trusting boss? More people interaction? Do you want to make a social contribution? To create something new? To bring order to something chaotic?

I like every day to be wildly different. One close friend prefers every day to be predictably the same. Knowing what you want is a crucial aspect of building it into your work life.

Try brainstorming a massive list of 100 job-related preferences–I picture a wall covered with sticky notes! Then divide those preferences into three categories:

1. Non-negotiable, core to any job you take.
2. Important, but negotiable if other factors prevail.
3. Nice to have, but nothing you’d lose sleep over.

When I lead clients through this activity, some people label most all their preferences as “nice to have.” If you don’t have many non-negotiables, give yourself permission to fight for some preferences in your job search. Try not to view job descriptions as fixed givens into which you need to squeeze and adjust yourself. Stop yourself if think the company belongs to everyone except you.

Other clients label most every preference as “non-negotiable.” Here we need to be more measured about the employer/employee partnership. Otherwise, you could find yourself jumping from job to job, thinking no one properly appreciates what you bring to the table. Every employer will fail to measure up.

At both extremes people are not investing passionately in the mission of the organization. But passionate investment is the goal. Get energized about your role and responsibilities. Take risks. Put your precious ideas out on the table, wrestle with complex problems, or attempt something new, maybe even controversial.

And any time you’re ready to take a deeper look at what you want, I’m here to help.

Here's My Thought...

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